Marya Maximoff

maryamaximofffilmWell, this one isn’t exactly a new entry from X-Men Apocalypse, since she already appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but now we can be pretty positive about who she is. We’re talking about Ms. Makimoff, the mother of Quicksilver and of a yet unnamed little girl (possibly the Fox version of Scarlet Witch, but that’s still to be confirmed). With Magda being properly introduced in Apocalypse, this leaves “Ms. Maximoff” to be identified with Marya Maximoff, the other mother figure for Magneto‘s children, namely their adoptive mother (even if in the movie continuity she’s actually Quicksilver’s biological mother). In the comics she doesn’t have much of a role, but she’s worth mentioning nevertheless: let’s see together.

Not much is known about Marya’s early life, not even her maiden name. She was part of a group of Romany travelers, and she grew up moving mostly in the area of Transia. Only the Romanys dared to live in the woods area at the feet of Wundagore Mountain, which was said to be cursed and full of black magic (and that claim had actually its parts of truth, as the Elder God Chthon had been imprisoned under the mountain eons before, soaking the land with his magic, and the High Evolutionary had his secret citadel and lab built atop the mountain, so the place was crowded with his human-animal hybrids). When she became of age, Marya got married with Django Maximoff, a doll-maker from her same tribe; Django was also a renowned magic user from the tribe, since the wood he used for his dolls was taken from the trees that fed on Chthon’s magic. Not that this upset Marya in any way: she was a sorceress herself, member of an ancient Romany coven. Still young, Marya became pregnant, and soon gave birth to two twins, Ana and Mateo. The woman was truly happy with her family, but then something horrible happened, and her children died: it’s still unspecified what precisely happened to Ana and Mateo, if some maryamaximoffcomics1kind of child disease or, according to some accounts, a wolf attack on the Romany camp; being it a way or another, the newborns were dead, and Marya’s family was distraught. With nothing else to do but to mourn their lost children, Marya and Django resumed their traveling in Transia, but when they approached Wundagore Mountain they found themselves face to face with an unexpected guest: the High Evolutionary himself, who had learnt of their loss. The superhuman geneticist had two children with him, Wanda and Pietro, the children of a powerful mutant, Erik Lehnsherr, and of his wife Magda: he entrusted the babies to the Maximoffs, asking them to raise them as if they were their own. Marya happily accepted.

Magda had abandoned her children to protect them from their father, who had become a murderous monster and didn’t know of their existence yet: to respect the last will of the children’s mother, Marya decided to keep for the twins the names Magda had chosen for them. She and Django raised the babies as if they were their own, and Marya truly loved them like she loved Ana and Mateo, giving to them all the love and the care she didn’t have the chance to give her children. The tribe managed to settle into a single land thanks to Django, who assured the tribe’s work to a miller in exchange of a large plot of land in his property. In this period, Wanda became old enough to be introduced to the coven, and Marya brought her to Lilia Calderu, the mother witch: at the presence of the entire coven, Marya included, Wanda was introduced for the first time to the secrets of the black magic known only to the Gypsy women of their tribe. From that moment, however, things became complicated: Pietro and Wanda started manifesting their mutant powers, and this increased the suspicion and the grudge from the rest of the population; the miller kicked the Romanys out of his land, and in every place they tried to settle sooner or later they received the same treatment. Plus, Django was quite concerned of letting Wanda learn the tribe’s secrets, since she was not their daughter, not a Romany as well, while Marya defended her right, even if it wasn’t a birthright (one of these conversations was maryamaximoffcomics2overheard by the twins, who were obviously quite shocked in learning they were adopted). Pietro, wanting to help his family now that Django couldn’t find any job, used his super speed to steal from some villagers, but he only got scolded by Django, and disappeared for three days: Marya, anguished, looked for him along with Wanda, and when they finally found him they were able to re-conciliate… but the villagers had found out about the thefts, and they angrily attacked the Romanys, setting their camp afire. The twins managed to save themselves, but Marya was trapped into her caravan and burnt alive: she was however happy to know that her beloved children at least were still alive…

Marya Maximoff is a loving and caring woman, who happily accepts two babies abandoned by their mother as if they were her own. She’s an initiate in the local Gypsy coven, and she can use black magic to an unknown extent (anyway in a lesser form than her daughter Wanda or even her husband Django). A loving mother and a loyal wife, Marya is one of the pillars of her tribe and community, and one of the few bright memories left for the Maximoff twins.

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En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse)

ApocalypseAnd finally we arrived at X-Men: Days of Future Past‘s post-credit scene, which is set in Egypt around 3000 B.C. In the scene, we can see a young man, portrayed by Brendan Pedder, building the pyramids using his powerful telekinesis. In the meanwhile, a crowd is chanting his name: En Sabah Nur, and four horsemen are looking from a distance. This one marks the first live action appearance of one of the most feared villains in the Marvel Universe, Apocalypse, who’ll be of course the main bad guy in the next installment of the series, X-Men: Apocalypse (even if in the new film he’ll be quite different from the young boy with white skin and blue lips we saw in this one). Waiting for the movie, let’s see who Apocalypse is in the comics.

The child who would have been known as En Sabah Nur was born nearly five thousand years ago in AkkabaEgypt, member of a tribe who feared him from his very first moments of life: with grayish skin and blue lips, the baby was abandoned to die in the desert. This event proved to be a good thing for the infant, since all his kin was slaughtered soon after by the nomadic raiders Sandstormers. The leader of the raiders, a tattooed brute who called himself Baal apocalypsecomics1of the Crimson Sands, found the baby and recognized his potential: he named him “En Sabah Nur” (The First One), and raised him as he was his son. Nur became the greatest warrior of the tribe, the strongest and the most intelligent, and lived by the principle of the survival of the fittest in which Baal believed; he was feared and hated by everyone but Baal, who told him he was the conqueror foreseen by an ancient prophecy, and spurred him to reach the top. In an attempt to teach his “son” the secret of the pharaoh Rama-Tut, a self-proclaimed god who was hunting down the Sandstormers, Baal ended up trapped in a cave with Nur, immediately after showing him Rama-Tut’s time machine. Only Nur survived, thanks to his mutant physiology, and swore to take his revenge against the pharaoh. Found by the vizier’s men, En Sabah Nur became a slave in Rama-Tut’s court, and hid his appearance with a heavy robe; Nephri, sister of Ozymandias (the warlord at Rama-Tut’s service who had hunted Baal and his raiders), got interested in the mysterious slave, but rejected him once she saw his appearance. Ozymandias tried to kill Nur, but his mutant powers triggered, he became a giant and annihilated the pharaoh’s army. Rama-Tut (actually a time-traveler conqueror who had come to Ancient Egypt exactly to try and become the mentor of one of the most powerful mutants ever lived) offered Nur to become his heir, but he refused. In the ensuing battle, Rama-Tut came back to his timeline, leaving behind a wounded Nur; Ozymandias was, in turn, transformed into a sand-made being, enslaved by Nur to become his chronicle writer. Now the raider rejected by everyone could reclaim the throne for himself.

En Sabah Nur spawned many sons, and founded Clan Akkaba, bringing Egypt to a power and a majesty it had never known, nor it would have in the future. Battling Persians and Alexander the Great, Nur purged his army from the weak ones, but soon apocalypsecomics2his desire of conquest went beyond Egypt, and he started to scheme for the conquer of the entire planet. Nur traveled the world, and arrived in China, where another immortal, Garbha-Hisen, brought him to a Celestial ship, which granted him an enormous power and the access to future technology. Now called Apocalypse (a name suggested to him by the owner of the ship, Exon the Searcher), Nur founded the Riders of the Dark, a cult of fanatics who worshiped the mutant conqueror and his idea of survival of the strongest. Another time-traveler, called simply Traveler (actually Cable, who was trying to kill his nemesis before he became immortal), tried to kill Apocalypse more than once, and almost accomplished his goal, but Nur’s blood got mixed in the fight with the Traveler’s techno-organic cells, giving him even more power, and a direct mind-link with the Celestial ship. The Traveler managed to exile Apocalypse in space along with the ship for some centuries, however he managed to come back to Earth and to reform his Riders. Along with them, he haunted the Europe of the XV century, and took a leading role in the transformation of king Vlad the Impaler into the vampire lord Dracula; he also created, for the first time, the Horsemen of Apocalypse, four generals (Death, FaminePestilence and War) chosen among the Riders, direct subordinate of Nur’s. He kept alternating years of wars and conflicts to ones of slumber in his spaceship, leaving his very existence on the brink of a myth. In XIX century London, Apocalypse met his most loyal yet dangerous servant, geneticist Nathaniel Essex, who for first discovered about mutants’ existence: Nur transformed him into immortal Mr. Sinister to allow him continue his researches, and also instructed him to awake him once more when Earth would have been populated with mutants, a sign that would have meant the planet was ripe for a harvest, with only the strongest allowed to survive. Nur came back to his ship, waiting, savoring his imminent conquest of the entire planet.

En Sabah Nur is a ruthless and cruel warlord, a conqueror blindly devoted to what he himself elevated to an almost-religious ideal: only the strong individuals are fit for existence, the weak ones must be eradicated like a cancer. An absolute genius, Nur conceived plans and schemes spreading over millennia of human history, and his intelligence has brought him to preempt most of contemporary sciences in ancient times. As Apocalypse, he’s one of the most powerful mutants ever: gifted with a powerful telekinesis (which allows him even to fly) and with a molecular-level control of his body, he’s able to shapeshift and to remodel his limbs and appearance, to increase or decrease size at will, to absorb and project energy either to heal, to increase his powers or to create shields and destructive blasts, and to teleport himself or others; Cable’s techno-organic virus also allows him to directly interface with any human or alien technology. Immortal and nearly unstoppable, Apocalypse is one of the most serious threats the world has ever faced, a being who converts the strong ones to his cause or annihilates them, and utterly vanquishes the weak ones: a calamity that has deserved his name.

Scott Summers (Cyclops)

cyclopsfilmAnd now we begin with the spoilerish characters: at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past, when Wolverine comes back to his present, it’s immediately clear his actions have indeed changed history, as he finds himself in the rebuilt Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and finds, alive and well, Jean Grey and even Scott Summers, portrayed by James Marsden. Scott already appeared in most of the movies in the series: in the first two films, he was Cyclops, the leader of the X-Men, but in the third one, depressed because of Jean’s death, he’s pretty much the shadow of what he used to be (no problem about it: he’s killed by his revived girlfriend in the first ten minutes of the show). A teenager version of him appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine portrayed by Tim Pocock: he is kidnapped from school by Sabretooth and brought to Weapon X program, so that his powers can be transferred into Deadpool. He also makes a small, uncredited cameo in First Class, as a young boy with red sunglasses seen when Charles Xavier uses Cerebro to detect mutants. Just let’s hope that his resurrection will lead to a proper evolution of the character. In the meanwhile, let’s see who the real Cyclops is.

Son of test pilot Christopher Summers and his wife Katherine Ann, Scott Summers was the older child of the family, acting as the big brother to Alex. He and his family led normal lives, and from time to time Christopher brought his wife and sons on family trips with his vintage plane; during one of these vacations, when Scott and Alex were still little boys, a Shi’ar ship suddenly appeared on the plane’s route, setting it aflame. Trying to save her sons, Katherine gave them the only parachute on board, with Scott embracing Alex not to let him fall. A moment after the cyclopscomics1children jumped, the plane exploded, and the parachute was set ablaze: while falling, Scott’s mutant powers manifested for the first time, and the boy used his optic blast to slow his and his brother’s fall; he however hit his head upon falling, and suffered a major brain damage that impaired the part of the brain which would have allowed him to control his optic blast, thus making it always active. Both Scott and Alex suffered from a traumatic amnesia of the events that had led to their parents’ (apparent) death, and they were hospitalized and taken under the protective wing of a skilled geneticist. Unfortunately, the scientist was Nathaniel Essex, aka Mr. Sinister, who took interest in Scott’s power. He sent Alex away, in order to make the boy emotionally vulnerable. After accidentally destroying the hospital’s roof with his blast, Scott was sent to an orphanage, were he was followed by the owner, Mr. Milbury, and bullied by his roommate, Lefty (both of them were cover identities for Sinister, who prevented him from being adopted more than once). When he started suffering from painful headaches, Scott was sent to a specialist (Sinister again), who forged for him special ruby-quartz lenses, able to restrain his blast. When he first used his powers to save some people from falling debris, however, Scott was charged by a mob, who believed he had tried to kill the people he had actually saved: this bad experience led him to crime boss Jack O’Diamonds.

Jack O’Diamonds forced the young boy to work for him, abusing him when he refused. When FBI agent Fred Duncan assaulted O’Diamonds’ lair and arrested him, Scott was sure he would have been arrested as well, but Duncan was working with Charles Xavier, a telepath who understood the boy’s history, and decided to take him with cyclopscomics2him. Taken to Xavier’s institute, Scott found in Xavier the first family in a long time, and started to see him as a father figure. He was also trained to become Cyclops, the first X-Men, the founder of a team of young mutants who would have helped normal people to accept mutants’ presence among them through their heroic deeds. When Xavier found other mutants for his school (Hank “Beast” McCoy, Warren “Angel” WorthingtonBobby “Iceman” Drake and Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey), Scott was elected leader of the X-Men, and although he proved to be an excellent tactician and a good leader, he however suffered from major lacks in social capabilities. He also fell in love with Jean, but, being extremely shy, he didn’t even try to confess her his feelings. He was also afraid he would have hurt her sooner or later with his uncontrollable power, and wanted to keep her at a distance; also Jean, however, liked him, and she made the first move: the two finally started dating, becoming the first official couple in the X-Men. From the first moment he had entered the School, Scott faced many difficult moments: he created the identity of Eric the Red to infiltrate Magneto‘s criminal organization that was threatening to destroy the X-Men for good, and he acted as Xavier’s successor during his (many) apparent deaths. He even found his brother, who joined the team and become Havok, and even his father, who had become the space pirate Corsair, but wasn’t able to entertain good relationships with either of them. In everything he faced, however, he had now a family to support him, and Jean by his side.

Scott Summers is a brilliant and intelligent man, strengthened and hardened by a number of personal tragedies, a young man who rapidly grew up in order to face the many responsibilities he had been entrusted with. Scott has found in the X-Men the family he lost as a small child, and is ready to sacrifice himself to protect his teammates. As Cyclops, he’s a well trained hand-to-hand fighter and a superb tactician, but his trademark is the extremely powerful optic blast he emits from his eyes, an uncontrollable burst of energy that forces him to always wear the visor and lenses Xavier built for him copying Sinister’s technology. A great leader and a good man, Cyclops is an anchorage for all his X-Men (with the possible exception of Wolverine, who he shares a not-always-friendly rivalry with), a mutant who fights for the peaceful cohabitation with humans, following the dream of his “father” Xavier.

Jean Grey (Dark Phoenix)

darkphoenixmovieLast character appearing in X-Men: Days of Future Past outside the main story line: when young Charles Xavier uses his newly refound powers to explore Logan‘s mind, he gets some glimpses of his tragic future, from the experiments under Weapon X program and his killing of the love of his life, Jean Grey, portrayed by Famke Janssen. In Xavier’s vision, Jean doesn’t appear in her “normal” human form, but in the twisted and deformed version of the Phoenix as she appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand. This version pretty much differed from the original one in the comics, as in the movie the Phoenix (or rather the Dark Phoenix she becomes during the battle of Alcatraz) is the result of Jean’s personality disorder, a destructive second identity her powerful brain created in which Xavier locked up all of the girl’s aggressiveness, violence and impulsiveness (freed by the traumatic events of X2). In the comics, the Dark Phoenix’s origins are a little bit more alien and a little less psychological. Let’s see together.

When the aliens Z’Nox tried to conquer Earth, the X-Men repelled their forces, and Professor X made sure there was no Z’Nox darkphoenixcomics1remained on the planet. The Fantastic Four, however, feared Xavier’s plan wasn’t enough to guarantee Earth’s safety, and organized a mission in space to reach the enemy planet: Mr. Fantastic teleported the whole planet in the Negative Zone, thus ending the menace. While in space, Jean Grey’s was reached by an ancient and powerful entity, the Phoenix Force, which became fascinated by the unlimited potential of the young girl. Years after that episode, Stephen Lang and his Sentinels kidnapped Jean Grey, Professor X, Banshee and Wolverine, bringing them to his space station. The X-Men fought back and escaped from the station, but a solar storm engulfed the shuttle they were escaping on: Jean had psychically absorbed the skills to pilot the shuttle, and she was alone in the cockpit in order to keep the others safe from the radiations, but she was dying because of the exposure. In that moment, the Phoenix Force came back, and offered Jean the chance to grant her deepest wish: the girl only wanted to save her teammates, but her approaching death would have prevented that. The Phoenix thus possessed Jean, and brought the X-Men safely back to Earth, while the shuttle crashed into Jamaica Bay. The Phoenix, however, created a copy of Jean Grey’s consciousness and body, and while the original one was put into a coma, slowly healing from her injuries at the bottom of the bay in a telekinetic cocoon, the “other Jean”, possessed by the Phoenix Force, emerged unscathed from the remains of the shuttle. Without even realizing why (Phoenix’s and Jean’s personalities had merged, with no memory of what had happened during the fall), Jean announced to her teammates that, from that moment, since she had risen from her ashes, she would have called herself “Phoenix”.

Nobody, not even her boyfriend Scott “Cyclops” Summers, realized what had happened to Jean. Her powers, however, kept increasing exponentially: she was able to repair the M’Kraan Crystal (a mystical artifact that served as the nexus of all realities), saving the universe, and she blocked Scott’s powers to allow him to truly see her for the first time in his life. Starting to fear her own darkphoenixcomics2powers, however, Jean tried to restrain herself… until she became the target of the psychical attack of Mastermind and Emma Frost, who used their powers to project a powerful illusion into her mind, and to transform her into the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. The battle that ensued between Cyclops and Mastermind broke the last barriers Jean had erected to contain her powers, and she let them go, transforming into the Dark Phoenix. After driving Mastermind insane with a simple glance, the Dark Phoenix, wanting to tie her bonds with the weak identity of Jean Grey, defeated the X-Men single-handedly, and then abandoned Earth, looking for a fitter environment to the goddess she had become. While trying to refuel the energies she had lost in her space travel, Jean consumed a star, starting a chain reaction that killed billions of people in the nearby planets. Both the Shi’ars and the Skrulls tried to stop her from consuming other stars, but the Dark Phoenix easily destroyed the aliens’ fleets. Only Professor X’s intervention managed to rebuild the barriers Jean had created herself, and to bring the woman back to her sense. Jean, however, was later arrested by the Shi’ars, and sentenced to death for genocide: trying to save his pupil, Xavier challenged the Shi’ar empress Lilandra to Arin’n Haelar, a honor duel in which the victor was the rightful. The X-Men battled the Imperial Guard, but were defeated, and when Cyclops was apparently killed, Jean lost control again: the Dark Phoenix was back.

Jean Grey’s psychical clone is identical to the original: strong, intelligent, caring, she’s a beacon for her friends and teammates. When the Dark Phoenix persona prevails, however, she’s a being of pure instinct, conscious of her own power and greatness and eager to prove herself; whenever she feeds, galaxies die, and whenever she gets angry, the universe trembles. Her telekinetic and telepathic powers are brought to an incredibly wide extent, and she’s able to manipulate matter and energy at will. She’s also able to survive in open space, to fly, to create destructive cosmic flames, to manipulate time and the very strings of existence, and, of course, to resurrect from her own ashes. Immortal and unstoppable, the Dark Phoenix is a malevolent yet pure being, like an almighty child barely aware of the consequences of her catastrophic actions.

Angel Salvadore

angelsalvadorefilmSecond character coming back in X-Men: Days of Future Past, albeit not in person. When Mystique breaks into Bolivar Trask‘s office and reads the files he hides in his safe, she finds out the autopsy report of some mutants Trask experimented on and killed: one of them is Angel Salvadore, portrayed by Zoë Kravitz. In the movie we don’t only see a photo of her corpse, there’s also one of her wings kept in a caveau, the same one that Magneto goes to in order to retrieve his helmet. Angel already appeared in First Class as a stripper who becomes one of the first recruits of Charles Xavier‘s and Magneto’s school, but she abandons her companions to join Sebastian Shaw after the first encounter with the Hellfire Club; she later changes sides again, and joins Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants. In the comics, she changes team just a couple of times, but she’s mainly a member of the X-Men. Let’s see together.

Angel Salvadore was born in a small town in Wyoming, from a poor woman and a man who had an affair with her, and abandoned her the moment he learnt she was pregnant. Angel lived with her little sister and her parents, and nobody but her mother knew she was the daughter of another man.angelsalvadorecomics1 Her step-father, however, suspected something, and, unfortunately for Angel, he was a violent and abusive man: she became the target of his physical, emotional, verbal and even sexual assaults; the mother didn’t seem to notice or to care what her husband was doing to her daughter, and the girl was left alone to defend herself from the father. When she was fourteen years old, Angel started finding blisters and blotches on her back, at her shoulders’ level, and this only increased the abuses coming from her step-father. One night, she tried to fight back, and threatened the man to sue him for child-abuse, but he bluntly answered that nobody would have believed he had molested a mutant: shocked by what he had said, Angel fled from home, and took refuge in a nearby park. She cried herself to sleep, praying that what her step-father said wasn’t true and she wasn’t a mutant… but the man was right. That very night, while she was sleeping, Angel formed a cocoon, from which she emerged the morning after… with a brand new pair of wings.

Before even realizing she had completed her mutation, Angel was attacked by the U-Men, a group of human fanatics believing to be the “Third Species“, and hunted mutants to harvest their body parts and “improve” themselves with them. The U-Men wanted angelsalvadorecomics2to take her wings, but Angel’s body subconsciously reacted on its own: she vomited acid on the nearest assailant, and used her new wings to produce ultrasonic waves that incapacitated the attackers. She then tried to fly away, but she wasn’t able to control her new limbs, and ended up crashing nearby: the U-Men sedated her, and took her away. She woke up on a vivisection table, with the U-Men about to cut off her wings, when a clawed mutant came to the rescue: Wolverine. The X-Men, in fact, had spotted Angel using Cerebro, and Jean Grey had used it to direct Wolverine to the girl’s imprisonment place. Wolverine made short work of the U-Men, and gutted many of them… but Angel’s first reaction, understandably, was to throw up from the stress and from the view of her kidnappers’ entrails. The acid blast hit Wolverine right in the face, but luckily his healing factor made him survive the experience. Logan convinced Angel to follow him to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and another misadventure with a mutant-hating bartender on the way convinced the girl even more of the necessity of a safeguarded environment for what she had become. However, she was still quite scared of her lethal protector, and her life at the new school started in plain distrust and suspicion towards the other mutants… until she met Barnell “Beak” Bohusk, another “freak” who soon became her boyfriend, allowing her to live her new life with another spirit.

Angel Salvadore is a girl who grew up sooner than her age requested because of a childhood of violence and abuses: hardened by a hard life, she’s however completely disoriented when facing the changes that occurred to her in first person, and she’s quite frightened of being a mutant. Angel has developed an insectoid physiology, with a pair of fly-like wings that she can use either to fly or to emit powerful supersonic waves by making them vibrating at high speeds; she also possesses special glands that emit a corrosive digestive acid, that she can use as a weapon as well. Whenever she’s heavily damaged, Angel can create healing cocoons, inside which she can heal from her wounds quite fast. Fearing herself and the new world around her, Angel is a young mutant who just made her first step in a wider world.

Azazel

azazelfilmFinally, X-Men: Days of Future Past is in theaters, and, by the way, it’s simply awesome. In the next days we’ll focus on the characters appearing in the movie that we didn’t see in any previous trailer: be warned, the first three will be spoiler-free, but the last two won’t, so if you didn’t see the movie already be careful. We’ll start with Azazel, portrayed by Jason Flemyng: in First Class, he was a member of the Hellfire Club, but joined Magneto in his first Brotherhood of Mutants after Sebastian Shaw‘s death. In Days of Future Past he’s dead from the very beginning of the movie, but we see a picture of him (of his corpse, actually) when Mystique reads Bolivar Trask‘s files, and we learn that he’s been killed and experimented on in order to study his powers. In the comics, Azazel has proved to be quite hard to kill, and I doubt Trask and his men would have been able to do that. Let’s see together.

Azazel’s origins go back in millennia, as he is one of the world’s most ancient mutants. Azazel was born when in the world two different kinds of mutants battled: on one side, there were the Neyaphem, a group of evil-doers, powerful beings with demonic appearance, with Azazel as their leader; on the other side, there were the Cherayafim, who distinguished themselves for their blonde hair, healing blood and wide wings. The two groups battled each other for supremacy during biblical azazelcomics1times, and they gave birth to humans’ concepts of demons and angels. Azazel, liking the idea of being considered a demon, and at a certain point battled some well-known and extremely powerful demons (among them, even Mephisto and Satannish) for the title of Satan, the ruler of Hell, but he lost to Marduk Kurios. In the meanwhile, the battle with the Cherayafim became more and more violent, until it ended up in an open war: the entire forces of both line-ups clashed, and the Neyaphem lost. Many of the survivors were simply immortal, like Azazel himself, so the Cherayafim decided to banish them, rather than killing them. The angel-like mutants opened a portal to another world, the Brimstone Dimension, and locked their enemies there for all eternity, sealing them up with their blood. For the Neyaphem, it was the beginning of a long time of imprisonment… luckily for them, their leader was a teleporter, and he soon found a way to use his powers to travel back to Earth, even if for a brief time. From the first time he came back to Earth, Azazel started impregnating mutant women, in order to spawn children that would have served as a bridge between dimensions, ready to be used by him to free himself and his people.

Azazel traveled between worlds for millennia, spawning quite a number of sons, all of them Neyaphem. In recent times, Azazel arrived in Germany, where he used his powers to appear like a human; he became a business associate of Baron Christian Wagner, a local nobleman, but it was his wife that lured his interest. The woman, in fact, despite appearing absolutely normal, was a blue skinned mutant: Raven Darkholme, aka azazelcomics2Mystique. Azazel seduced the woman, and managed to sleep with her despite she loved her husband: she got pregnant, and Azazel abandoned her to come back to his dimension. From Brimestone Dimension, Azazel saw that Raven had been forced to kill her husband, who was barren and so quite suspicious about his wife’s pregnancy, and that a furious crowd had apparently killed both her and the baby, Kurt. When time came, Azazel finally gathered all of his children, thanks to his psychic powers, in the Isla Des Demonas, where they were ready to sacrifice themselves to let their father and his people come through. Also Kurt, who had survived and become the heroic Nightcrawler in the meanwhile, was there, but his friends, the X-Men, had followed him while he was in a semi-catatonic state. When Azazel’s children opened the portal to the Brimstone Dimension, the X-Men jumped in, determined to protect their friend from whatever awaited on the other side. Intrigued, Azazel decided to take some fun with them before reopening the portal, and convinced the mutants they were actually in Hell, and he was Satan in person: after eons of imprisonment, Azazel was ready to dally a little bit torturing some hero before getting to serious business…

Azazel is an ancient and cruel mutant, willing to establish his own kingdom on the world. He’s quite powerful, and has displayed a variety of abilities: he’s immortal, and also possesses a healing factor that not only prevents him from aging, but also regenerates his cells at an incredible speed, making him survive also to otherwise mortal wounds; he’s an extremely powerful teleporter, and is able to emit energy blasts that usually paralyze whoever is hit; he’s also able to shapeshift and to mind-control other people to a certain extent; he’s also an excellent swordsman and a skilled acrobat. Considering himself a man of honor (or at least a twisted version of it), Azazel feels a deep hatred and despise not only towards his long-time nemesis, the Cheyarafim, but also against all “normal” mutants, the ones who don’t show any physical sign of their mutation. With all the determination and the power to accomplish his goals, Azazel will stop in front of nothing to free himself and his army and to establish a kingdom ruled by demonic and monstrous mutants like himself.

Eric Gitter (Ink)

InkNew trailer from X-Men: Days of Future Past (it’s embedded into The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s credits, but avoid delusions: this doesn’t hint at a future crossover between the franchise, it’s just part of an agreement between Marc Webb and Fox), this time a brief sequence from the movie. In the scene, we see Mystique saving Havok and other mutant soldiers from William Stryker‘s “transfer” into a different base, more likely some sort of concentration camp for muties. In the brawl between mutants and humans, we see Havok himself blasting a guy on the other side of the dorm, Toad using his versatile tongue to disarm another, and a bald guy using a tattoo on his hand to make two guys feel immediately sick: this last one is Ink, portrayed by Gregg Lowe. Ink will appear in the past setting of the film, in the 1970s, and he’ll likely aid Havok and Mystique somehow. Waiting to see what kind of role he’ll have, let’s see who he is in the comics.

Little is known about Eric Gitter‘s life prior to his involvement with mutant superheroes: he was born in La JollaCalifornia, and grew up as a troublesome teenager, often in troubles with law. After he got himself the first tattoo from a friend, Leon Nunez, who worked at Ink Inc., Eric found out he was a mutant: every tattoo he marked on his skin granted inkcomics1him new abilities. He tried out his powers when two policemen arrived at Ink Inc. to arrest him: using the biohazard symbol he had on his right hand, he made them feel sick, but when reinforcements arrived he got arrested nevertheless. While in his cell, he repeatedly mocked his guard, until unexpectedly he freed him and brought him out of prison: the “guard” turned off an image inducer, and revealed himself to be Cyclops, the leader of the legendary mutant superteam X-Men. Cyclops needed Eric to be part of a new team, the Young X-Men, specifically created to battle the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, whose members were the former New Mutants. Eric enthusiastically accepted the offer, and he trained hard in a combat simulator, the Danger Cave, along with his new teammates. Eric, now nicknamed Ink, was assigned to capture Dani Moonstar, teaming up with the telepath Blindfold. The two succeeded in capturing Moonstar, but eventually Ink knocked Blindfold out as well, as he had been secretly assigned to bring them both to Cyclops (who had actually ordered him to kill them, but he had refused).

Unfortunately for the Young X-Men, “Cyclops” was later revealed to be Donald Pierce, a long-time enemy of the X-Men, who had used them to defeat the New Mutants. Feeling guilty and fooled, Ink and the other Young X-Men allied with the New Mutants, and inkcomics2defeated Pierce. After the battle, the Young X-Men decided to stay a team, this time under the tutelage of the real Cyclops; despite having worked directly for Pierce, a maneuver that costed the life of teammate Wolf Club, Ink was allowed to stay. During the first mission, however, Moonstar found out Ink wasn’t a mutant at all: he was just a regular human, powered up by the tattoos of Leon Nunez, who was the actual mutant. Depressed, and feeling even more out of place, Eric left the team, and wandered alone in the city, getting himself drunk. On the street, he was ironically attacked by the Hellfire Cult, a group of mutant-haters, who didn’t know he wasn’t a real mutant. Ink easily defeated them, but he was then contacted by Cipher, who asked him to come back since the team, attacked by the evil Y-Men, needed him and his abilities. At first reluctant, Ink ended up accepting, but first he came back to Nunez for a couple more tattoos: he then arrived on the battlefield, just in time to use one of his new powers to heal Moonstone, who had been fatally shot. Ink then used a power dangerously similar to the Phoenix Force to defeat all the Y-Men by himself, thus saving the day. After deploying such a power, Cyclops decided to invite him to stay with the group, despite him not being a true mutant, overall because he wanted to keep in check a guy with such a destructive potential. For a reason or the other, finally Eric had a place and a group he belonged.

Eric Gitter is a vulgar, selfish and ambitious teenager who tries to spoil any situation he finds himself involved into to his own advantage, making himself recognizable with quite a colorful language. As Ink, he has different powers depending on the tattoos inked on him by the Tattoo Maker: the biohazard mark on his right palm gives him the ability to make people fall ill; the one on his right hand, that resembles Colossus‘ skin, gives him super strength; the wings on his back allow him to fly; the lightning bolts on his forehead give him telepathy; the explosive symbol on his right arm allows him to make things explode and to burst through walls; the Caduceus symbol on his left hand gives him healing abilities; the Phoenix Force symbol over his right eye grants him powers similar to the original Phoenix (he’s used these powers to erase the Y-Men’s powers and to resurrect his dead teammate Dust so far); it’s unknown what kind of ability the circular tattoo on his left shoulder grants to him. Gifted with an immense power that is not his own, the only human being in a team for mutants, Ink is an outsider in whatever he does, a young man who looks for his place in the world, but always ends up in the wrong one.